Lidl has been scolded by the ASA after Morrisons complained about a price comparison advert which it claimed was not based on the prices available when the ad appeared, leading Morrisons to ask whether the advert was “misleading”.
Text in the advert itself stated “£11.50 at Morrisons” and “£9.77 (total) at Lidl” for Cathedral City cheddar cheese, small print underneath the pricing stated: “Subject to availability. Selected stores. Lidl prices correct at time of going to print. Morrisons prices checked at Morrisons.com on 16 January 2019. Excludes promotional pricing”.
Lidl told the ASA that it had been aware that Morrisons had a discount on the item at the time, and said that the purpose of the advert was to “demonstrate to consumers that the collective price of the selected products was lower at Lidl than at Morrisons all year round”.
The discount supermarket said that because its adverts featured headers which read “your money’s worth more at Lidl”, “prices crunched all year round” and qualifying text which read “excludes promotional pricing”, it believed the advert would be perceived as a comparison between the prices consumers would face all year round.
The ASA concluded: “Because, we considered that consumers would understand from the ad that the price difference on 16 and 17 January 2019 between the four products at Lidl and at Morrisons was £1.73, when it was in fact 73p, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.”
As a result of the regulator’s conclusion the ASA told Lidl the advert “must not appear again in the form complained of” and told it to ensure the basis of its price comparisons were clear and that adverts reflected the prices available to consumers.